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Taking a Stand

  • 1.  Taking a Stand

    Posted 05-31-2020 17:56
    Dear Fellow Fellows,

    In our current times of great tragedy and duress, I share my position from a vulnerability and solidarity In hoping that will inspire you to take action in support of dismantling Systemic Racism and Injustice in our built environment. A statement is the beginning of commitment and accountability, not the means to an end.

    I am privileged and fortunate in most spaces never to be questioned under suspicion if I belong - in my neighborhood, my home, in a store that is beyond my financial means, or whether the car I drive belongs to me.

    No petition to sign. If you feel inspired, please think about sharing your position publicly as a pledge to one another to do more.

    With gratitude.


    I stand with my black and brown friends, colleagues and communities of color who are in visceral pain and trauma of the recent murders that reflect centuries worth of dehumanization, racism, and injustice that started with the original sin of slavery. I will continue to work within the built environment to call out systems of injustice when I see it. I will remain steadfast in exposing how design and the built environment has perpetuated systemic injustice - denying fundamental health, safety, and welfare for black and brown bodies and communities of color. I will work tirelessly to redefine design excellence - an equitable and inclusive process that helps mitigate barriers to access - and improves the quality of life for all, creating spaces that can be occupied without being questioned of your right to exist there, based on the color of your skin.

    Sent from my iPad

  • 2.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-01-2020 17:41
    I stand with you and will work " tirelessly to redefine design excellence - an equitable and inclusive process that helps mitigate barriers to access - and improves the quality of life for all, creating spaces that can be occupied without being questioned of your right to exist there, based on the color of your skin. " so well said. 

    Celeste Novak FAIA
    Celeste Allen Novak Architect
    Ann Arbor, MI 48103

  • 3.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-03-2020 09:18
    Wonderfully stated.  As individual architects we need to remember this and to put it into action each day.

  • 4.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-03-2020 12:03
    I thought I did this yesterday.  Maybe this time it will get through?  Rosa, I completely support your stand.  We all should do what we can.  Befriend a black person.  Hire a black person.  Demand, until it happens, that every kid gets a great education.  Demand, until it happens, that your police department have zero tolerance for racist behavior.  Le Corbusier said, "Architecture or Revolution".  How about, "No Justice, No Architecture".

    Mike Mense FAIA
    New York NY

  • 5.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-01-2020 17:47



    Thank you for so clearly articulating and reminding us that this is our duty- each and every one of us.





    NOMA's Public Statement Regarding Racial Injustice – National Organization of Minority Architects – NOMA

    As NOMA, we are calling on our community to condemn racism and take an active role in eliminating racial biases that account for disparities that result in the loss of lives - Black lives.



    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  • 6.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-05-2020 23:22

    Funny that I was never aware of NOMA. Just joined.

    Here is the message that my firm published:

    "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Desmond Tutu.

    We think of these words as we mourn the senseless deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans who have been victims of systemic discrimination and injustice.

    #Aedisarchitects stands with Black Lives Matter and supports the fight for equality and justice.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words of wisdom serve to guide us through this challenging time: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral."

    Thang Do FAIA
    AEDIS Architects
    San Jose CA

  • 7.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-01-2020 18:30
    Thank you for these words that articulate how we can take a stand Rosa. You have perfectly articulated how our work was not, is not, and can not be neutral.


    Polly Carpenter FAIA
    Director of Public Programs
    Boston Society of Architects/AIA
    Cambridge MA

  • 8.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-01-2020 21:25


    Thank you for your leadership and call to action.​

    I am saddened and angered by the senseless murders of Black and Brown people in our country. I denounce any acts of racism and injustice and commit to listen and learn to be a voice of action.

    As architects and community leaders, we have the privilege and responsibility to design safe environments for all.

    We must unite and celebrate our diversity. Together we are stronger.

    Be kind. Be safe.


    Matthew Dumich FAIA
    Chicago IL

  • 9.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-02-2020 15:07
    Dear Ms. Sheng,

    I greatly appreciate your deeply thoughtful statement and wholeheartedly endorse it - many thanks for putting it down in writing so that we can each personalize it and hopefully own it!

    Over the last few days I have seen many excellent statements by numerous organizations regarding the tragic events of this past week and the issue of racial injustice. The most powerful of these and, perhaps the one that offers me the most hope, is that sent by Kimberly Dowdell, President of NOMA, which speaks to NOMA’s BRAVE initiative to Banish racism, Reach out, Advocate, Vote and Engage - the actions are specific for us to follow in our personal lives, our firms and our communities. The direct link to their statement is here:


    I commend it to all my Fellows colleagues and AIA members.

    Many thanks for your consideration!

    Leevi Kiil, FAIA

  • 10.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-04-2020 18:39
    Thank you so much Rosa for your sharing your thoughtful statement. These are difficult times and sharing your thoughts helps me and I assume others to move forward.

    Tom Fowler

    Thomas Fowler FAIA
    Professor, Director of Graduate Architecture Program
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo CA

  • 11.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-04-2020 21:18
    I am so impressed with the eloquence.  I have passed it on to others.

    Thomas Hirsch, FAIA
    Madison, Wisconsin

  • 12.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-04-2020 20:28
    Thank you Rosa and Fellow Fellows,

    As a privileged architect, educator, and community member, I commit to being BRAVE, to banishing racism, to reaching out to those who are grieving, to advocate for the disinherited, to vote in every American election and to engage each human I meet as I would want to be engaged.


    Mark Roddy FAIA
    California State University, Sacramento
    Sacramento CA

  • 13.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-06-2020 14:40
    Rosa & Colleagues:

    Beautifully stated and I, too, stand with you and our colleagues who have made a commitment at this time.

     I would like to offer a modest proposal for ACTION.


    Being an educator-practitioner for 53 years, I am convinced that emerging professional begin to form the ethical practices by which they will conduct the professional careers while students and while during internships.   Bringing your commitment as a fellow to engage actively in honest dialogue with students and faculty, will, I believe, pay dividends well into the future.

    Stay well as you make this commitment.

    Anthony Costello FAIA
    Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives
    Muncie IN

  • 14.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-08-2020 17:29
    Dear Tony and all,

    I am a member of NOMA and AIAS, have been for a while. As an architect and educator, I saw this as a way to show my support for both groups. I have been involved with both at the University of Virginia where I taught for quite a while and at Tulane, where I have been teaching for the last twelve years (ten as dean) arriving less than three years after Hurricane Katrina. Both organizations have made significant contributions to our profession over the years. And I am a big fan of Kimberly Dowdell AIA - we are both alumni from Cornell University - though she was more than a few years behind me!


    Kenneth Schwartz FAIA
    Professor and Michael Sacks Chair in
    Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship
    Tulane University
    New Orleans LA

  • 15.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-09-2020 17:41
    I also know Kimberly, from when she taught at Taubman College at U of Michigan and from her work in Detroit.
    She's an articulate, important stalwart of racial and ethnic equity.
    Student chapters of NOMA and AIA are active at the college, although the participation rate varies from year to year,
    as activists come and go.
    I would like to think the current policing issues will activate these and other such campus groups to new levels.

    Douglas Kelbaugh FAIA Kelbaugh FAIA FCNU 2016 Topaz Medallion Laureate
    Professor Professor and former Dean
    University of Michigan
    Seattle WA

  • 16.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-09-2020 14:50
    Anthony and Colleagues ...

    What a terrific action item you have suggested!  I plan to make a contribution to the NOMA and AIAS Chapters to Washington University in St. Louis.  It is the HBCU schools of architecture at Alabama A+M University, Jackson State University, Howard University, Hampton University, Prairie View A+M University,  North Carolina A+T University, Florida A+M University, Tuskegee University, University of DC, and Morgan State University that would greatly benefit from financial support as well. 

    Maybe a letter to the deans and faculty as well as NOMA student presidents from a member of the College of Fellows could be appropriate.  WIth a promise of a contribution from the College?

    I am a new Fellow, Class of 2020.  My years with AIA local, state and national leadership were invaluable as I created a non-profit 501.3c organization, the Coalition of Community College Programs [CCCAP] in 2012. Representing over 150 such programs nationwide, our commitment has been to:
    • Support our members in developing a new generation of designers of the built environment with the skills and the ethos necessary to address the challenges of an era of global transformations;
    • Facilitate dialogue, share best practices, and collaborate as a network amongst Architecture Programs in community colleges;
    • Champion equity, diversity, and inclusion within the architectural profession;
    • Establish and support transfer and articulation partnerships between community college architecture programs and those of baccalaureate programs.
    I would be glad to work with other Fellows to prepare a letter of support to these HBCU schools.  Would this be appropriate?  Words can be building blocks. Perhaps this is a chance for us as Fellows to demonstrate words and a few bucks too.

    I join Anthony Costello FAIA's idea of supporting NOMA and AIAS chapters and would like also to construct a supportive structure to our diverse and inclusive population of future architects.

    ... Randy
    Randy A Steiner FAIA
    4838 Drummond Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
    Phone: 240-462-3934

  • 17.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-10-2020 17:37

    In my opinion, (hopefully) the lasting effect of the current unrest is escalating into an overall awakening against abuse of power (of all forms). Yes, it's about George Floyd and continued crimes against black lives (and abusive police) and this is a most important urgent and frustrating issue.  The current unrest has united people of all races also with an underlying rage against the abuse of power.

    This protest has become much more significant than the typical/periodic protest comprised in large part of some people mainly seeking an identity.  This movement is having a genuine impact similar to the impact of the Civil War, the Vietnam War, and Martin Luther King and the movement of that time.  More than just the left are listening and have been impacted with the exception of our current national leadership.  Our current leadership remains silent on this because they don't understand, they don't listen, and they are against changing their desired momentum towards authoritarianism and ultimately fascism.  This must be overcome in order to achieve the goals of the current unrest!

    A Politician's main focus should be on quality of life for all while uniting to achieve it.  It should guide their every action. 

    Gary Desmond, FAIA


  • 18.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-12-2020 14:51
    Well thought through and well stated

    Thomas Hirsch, FAIA
    14 North Allen Street
    Madison WI 53726-3924


  • 19.  RE: Taking a Stand

    Posted 06-11-2020 15:25

    Rosa and others

    Thank you for this thread on taking a stand. We appreciated your letter and your position statement.

    The AIA College of Fellows endorses the American Institute of Architects and the National Organization of Minority Architects in their call to condemn racism and take an active role in eliminating the racial biases in the profession and society at large. We too support the protests to stop systemic, state-sanctioned violence against Black Americans, and are committed to efforts to ensure that our College is part of the solution to dismantle racial injustice, and to increase diversity and equity in our own profession.

    Now we welcome suggestions on how we might best turn resolution into actions we can take together.


    The Executive Committee of the College of Fellows

    Peter Kuttner, FAIA - Chancellor       

    John Castellana, FAIA - Vice Chancellor      

    Roger Schluntz, FAIA - Bursar          

    Frances Halsband, FAIA - Secretary


    Peter Kuttner FAIA
    Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc.
    Cambridge MA